Monday, September 22, 2014

Franklin Delano Roosevelt & The Claudia Quintet - Celebrating September!

Celebrating the Special Month of September with The Claudia Quintet:
A September 2014 Tour
Reflections on Franklin Delano Roosevelt (a Video!) from Septembers Past


The Claudia Quintet
Left to right: Red Wierenga, Matt Moran, John Hollenbeck,
Chris Speed and Drew Gress.

>>> Wednesday, SEPTEMBER 24 - CAMBRIDGE, MA <<<
@ Lilypad
1353 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
8:00 PM

>>> Thursday, SEPTEMBER 25 - BROOKLYN, NY <<<
@ Shapeshifter Lab
18 Whitwell Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11215
7:00 PM

>>> Friday, SEPTEMBER 26 - BLACKWOOD, NJ <<<
@ Camden County College
200 College Dr, Blackwood, NJ 08012
7:30 PM & FREE!!!!

For show updates, please visit:

To book a future show with The Claudia Quintet in your town,
please contact Company of Heaven:



On the heels of the release of Ken Burns exciting new documentary series The Roosevelts, we would like to share the video for the track 'September 29th, 1936 Me Warn You' from The Claudia Quintet's 2013 album on Cuneiform, called September. The song features a sliced and looped rendition of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous 'Let Me Warn You' speech condemning partisanship, and the instrumentalists make a beautiful and intriguing piece by playing to the rhythm and melody inherent in Roosevelt's way of speaking. Video artist Nika Bellianina manipulated archival images from FDR's 1936 speech to complement the Quintet's musical composition.

"September 29th, 1936: Me Warn You"

The Claudia Quintet album, September, is one of the most musically and emotionally resonant works of this remarkable ensemble's career. Released exactly a year ago, in late September 2013, its name was a clever title for what was Claudia's then- 7th (sept) release. But September's meaning also ran much deeper. Composer/bandleader John Hollenbeck conceived the album to both celebrate his favorite month, a season ripe with artistic fulfillment via artist residencies, and to purge the ghosts of 9/11 that overshadowed it.

The Claudia Quintet: September (Cuneiform Records)

Featuring songs written to correspond with various days of the month, each song on September had a date, followed by a title.

One of the most striking pieces on September was "29th: 1936 "Me Warn You", which is featured in the video, above. Musically and technically innovative, politically timely, intellectually astute ("those who forget history are doomed to repeat it") and conceptually inspired, the Roosevelt-rooted work generated a ton of critical admiration following the album's release. Expose noted that "One of the most attention-grabbing pieces is "29th: 1936 'Me Warn You'", which takes a recording of a Franklin D. Roosevelt speech and extracts the rhythms and melodic tones of his voice as a melody, which the other instruments then use as material for their playing. It is both a brilliant intellectual achievement and an eminently entertaining experience."

To quote Jazz Times:
"John Hollenbeck has fashioned his share of attention-grabbing tunes, but few as compelling as 'September 29th, 1936: Me Warn You,' a highlight of the Claudia Quintet's shiveringly good new album. A mash-up of reflective music and sonically sliced and diced excerpts from a Franklin D. Roosevelt speech, it basks in the president's sarcasm in blowing off the opposition for pretending to back his New Deal programs and claiming, "We will do them better." ....the music wins us over by powerfully claiming the human voice as an instrument of its own."

DownBeat remarked "On '29th: 1936 "Me Warn You,"' a recording of FDR's sarcastic voice is dissected and recast, extracting its musicality, remixing of Steve Reich's voice loops or Jason Moran's forays into text. "12th: Coping Song,' an elegy on 9/11, shows Hollenbeck has depth as a conjurer of unclassifiable melodies."

"12th: Coping Song" was the first song that NYC-based Hollenbeck wrote for his September celebration; a tune that he wrote trying to "rework and transform the traumatic residue [of 9/11] through composition." We share a free download of that song here:

"September 12th: Coping Song" (mp3 download)
STREAM: @SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

We hope that YOU take the time this Fall
to listen to September,
and to catch the ensemble that recorded this wonderful work
while they are performing live on tour.


"All these Hollenbeck compositions were penned in the month of September...when the warmth of summer lingers during the days, while the evenings hint at the cold to come. Hollenbeck writes cosmopolitan melodies that are by turns charming and wistful, sometimes underpinning them with surprisingly knotty rhythms, given that the end music is seldom dense.
Have a listen. It is like a breath of fresh air."
- –John Shand, The Sydney Morning Herald



To read more about The Claudia Quintet and John Hollenbeck's current activities, you can read their newsletter:

For more information about The Claudia Quintet's releases on Cuneiform, please see:



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Raoul Björkenheim Ecstacy on 'Jazz From Finland 2014-2015'

Raoul Björkenheim / Ecstacy's song "Subtearranean Samba" is featured on this gorgeously packaged 'Jazz From Finland 2014-2015' comp from Music Finland. It's a hard cover book meets album!

"Subtearranean Samba" is available on 'eCsTaSy' (Cuneiform Records): 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CUNEIFORM NIGHT IN BALTIMORE–2014 (9/13/14): the cellar and point, Anthony Pirog and Jonathan Badger.


Cuneiform Records is very happy to announce that Cuneiform Night in Baltimore is taking place this Saturday, September 13, in Baltimore at Orion Sound Studios. It will be the first of three "Cuneiform Night" concerts held during the Fall of 2014, in celebration of the label's 30th anniversary; other Cuneiform Night concerts will be held in Boston(Oct. 17) and Brooklyn(Oct. 22).

2014 is a landmark year for Cuneiform; founded in 1984 in Washington DC/Silver Spring MD, it is one of the longest consistently running avant-garde record labels in the US and possibly the world. Specializing in releasing music that defies and redefines genre boundaries, progressing rock, jazz, electronic into realms beyond, over the past 3 decades Cuneiform has assembled a catalogue of nearly 400 albums that is astonishing for its adventurous scope and consistent high-quality. Its releases include albums by some of the best musicians in the international avant garde, including established icons as well as rising stars. The Fall 2014 Cuneiform Night Concert Series will feature long-standing Cuneiform bands as well as new signings.

Saturday, September 13, 2014
8:00 PM
Orion Sound Studios
2903 Whittington Ave., Suite C, Baltimore, MD 21230

A Celebration of Cuneiform's 30th Anniversary and
A Record Release Party for 3 Cuneiform bands:
the cellar and point
Anthony Pirog
Jonathan Badger

Cuneiform Night in Baltimore will be held at Orion Studios, a legendary live-studio performance space in the city's warehouse district. The show will feature Brooklyn band the cellar and point, supported by Jonathan Badger (from Baltimore) and the Anthony Pirog Trio (from DC). Each of these artists are releasing new albums on Cuneiform in Fall 2014.

Orion Studios is located at Suite C, 2903 Whitington Avenue, Baltimore MD 21230 (directions here). The show is all-ages and B.Y.O.B (coolers welcome). There is a $20 cover charge and all proceeds go to the artists. Find out more on the Orion Studios event page here:

Cuneiform Night at Orion Studios

Orion Studios Website



The cellar and point is an adventurous 'garage chamber' band, developed and led by childhood friends Joseph Branciforte and Christopher Botta. They had long imagined a fluid synthesis of their wide-ranging interests: the detail of modern concert music, the improvisational sensibilities of downtown jazz and the emotional directness of rock, combined with the production values of hip-hop and electronica.

Might it be possible to draw equally upon these influences, while transcending mere collage and to present it in the context of a working ensemble, not just a studio project? After 3 years spent composing and recruiting an impressive cross-section of talent from New York City's classical, jazz and new music scenes, Ambit, the group's impressive debut album, is one answer to those questions, and they will be performing music from the album Saturday night.

The group will be performing music from their upcoming album Ambit, available on Cuneiform Records on October 14.



Washington, D.C.'s jazz and experimental music scenes wouldn't be quite where they are today without Anthony Pirog. The guitarist, composer and loops magician is a quiet but ubiquitous force on stages around his hometown. With fearsome chops and a keen ear for odd beauty, Pirog has helped expand the possibilities of jazz, rock and experimentalism in a town long known for its straight-ahead tradition.

Anthony's roots as a guitarist are in the work of D.C. guitar heroes Danny Gatton and Roy Buchanan, and their virtuosic technique that blended all styles of popular music.

He has taken and built upon those roots, working in straight and experimental jazz, improvisation and electronics/looping, and he somehow takes these styles, all of which he's mastered, and makes them all work together and as well as makes them all his own.

He will be performing music from his upcoming debut solo album Palo Colorado Dream, which marks the young innovator’s entrance onto the national stage. The album has an immersive depth and understated allure that hold the listener rapt. And they illustrate all the various realms of Pirog’s artistry: the spinning fantasy-scape of his loops and the hard-nosed technical power of his soloing, his patience with a slow build and his knack for moments of fierce catharsis.

Palo Colorado Dream will be released on Cuneiform Records on October 14.



Jonathan Badger is a composer and performer based in Baltimore, Maryland. Formally trained as a classical guitarist, he went on to study music theory and composition at Duke University and arranged and composed music for theatre and dance. He then studied in Guitar Craft, a guitar school founded and guided by Robert Fripp of King Crimson.

He has toured extensively, performing his riveting style of “guitaristic” electronic music, processing guitar through an assortment of customized software and hardware - folding and weaving signals together into complex patterns of interlaced rhythm, harmony and texture. The resulting aesthetic is an ambient, avant-rock hybrid with DIY sensibilities.

Here is his account of his performance process: “My guitars generate two signals: one analog and one digital. Both signals are fed into a computer, and the digital signal controls a homegrown sample base I made of hundreds of recordings of acoustic instruments such as viola, cello, flute, the human voice, piano, and so on. So in addition to conventional guitar tones there is a wide palette of organic sonics. This audio is judiciously processed in the computer in a fashion that causes the music to swerve between acoustic chamber flavors to full-on noise explosions. The processing takes place in a MAX/MSP environment of my own design. Additionally, I use Jitter -- which also runs in the MAX context -- to control multiple video streams. Jitter is a programming language that enables the user to manipulate video either manually via outboard hardware controllers, or, more interestingly, via audio. I've written a series of programs that attenuate, distort, and blend several video streams at once according to what is happening in the music. The audio itself (its amplitude, rhythm, and frequency components) tugs and warps the visuals, which are projected in real time.”

He will be performing music from his upcoming album Verse, which is released on Cuneiform Records on September 30.



Orion Sound - 2903 Whittington Ave., Suite C - Baltimore, MD 21230 (Record Release Party for all 3 bands! - record release show! with Jonathan Badger, The Cellar And Point and Anthony Pirog)

Johnny D's - Somerville, MA (with Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic and the cellar and point)

Cuneiform Night at Shapeshifter Lab - 18 Whitwell Place - Brooklyn, NY 11215
(with The Microscopic Septet, Ideal Bread & Curtis Hasselbring's Numbers Stations Band)

For more information about Cuneiform Records, the talented artists that it represents, and the numerous adventurous music recordings it's released over three decades,

please visit: